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Business Communication and Writing

Skills
(MGT-320)
Week 1 (1st and 2nd Lecture)
Instructor: Mr. Zahid Bashir

BSCS & MSC (CS)

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Communication

The word communication means the act or process of giving or

exchanging of information, signals or messages as by talk,

gestures or writing. Technically speaking, in the act of

communication, we make opinions, feelings, information, etc.

known or understood by others through speech, writing or bodily

movement.

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Scope of Communication

• Your success in your career is based on your ability to do well in written


and oral communication.
• This ability to communicate effectively is a valuable asset for you.
• If your career requires mainly mental rather than manual labor, your
progress will depend on how effectively you communicate your ideas to
others who need or should receive them.
• Strong communication skills are found in every job description listed by
companies’ advertising positions. Communication is a primary
responsibility in many careers, such as customer relations, labor relations,
marketing personnel, public relations, sales, and teaching.
• Communication is also required in government and non-profit
organizations. Communication skills play a major role at every level.
• Even if your work is mainly with figures, as in the accounting profession,
the ability to communicate to those who read your financial reports is
necessary.

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Communication Process

Communication is a process of sending and receiving verbal and non-verbal


messages. Communication is considered effective when it achieves the desired
reaction or response from the receiver. Communication is a two way process of
exchanging ideas or information. The process of communication has six
components: sender/encoder, message, medium, receiver/decoder, and
feedbacks.

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Communication Process (Cont)

So, the following are the major components of a Communication process.

• Context
• Sender / Encoder
• Message
• Medium/Channel
– Oral Communication
– Written Communication
• Receiver / Decoder
• Feedback

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Context

Every message, whether oral or written, begins with context. Context is a


broad field that includes country, culture, organization, and external and
internal stimuli. Internal stimuli have effect on how you translate ideas into a
message. Your attitudes, opinions, emotions, past experiences, likes and
dislikes, education, job status and confidence in your communication skills, all
influence the way you communicate your ideas, especially important is your
ability to analyze your receiver’s culture, viewpoint ,needs ,skills, status, metal
ability, experience and expectation. You must consider all these aspects of
context in order to communicate a message effectively.

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Sender / Encoder

While sending a message, you are the “encoder”, the writer or


speaker, depending on whether your message is written or oral,
you choose symbols — words, graphic, pictures — that express
your message so that the receiver(s) will understand and react as
you desire. You decide which symbols best convey your message
and which message channel will be the most effective among the
oral and written media (letter, memo, telephone, etc.)

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Message

The message is the main idea that you wish to communicate; it is of

both verbal (written or spoken) symbols and non-verbal (unspoken)

symbols. First decide exactly what your message is. Also consider the

receiver of your message. You must also consider your context and

your receiver’s as well. How your receiver will interpret your message

and how it may affect your relationship.

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Medium/Channel

• It means the way to be used to send your message. You can choose
electronic mail, the printed word or sound etc. The choice of
medium is affected by the relationship between the sender and the
receiver. The urgency of a message can also be a factor in whether to
use the written or spoken medium. You may also consider factors
such as importance, number of receivers, costs and amount of
information; you must also consider which medium is preferred in
the receiver’s culture. Based on research, the following are some of
the characteristics found in oral and written communication.

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Characteristics of oral & written communication

Oral Communication

• The oral communication brings back immediate feedback


• It has a conversational nature with shorter words and sentences
• It stresses on interpersonal relations
• This medium needs less technical details
• Its sentence structures are simple

Written Communication

• This medium is more formal with focus on contents


• It can convey any amount of technical information
• It is best for permanent record
• This medium uses longer words and longer sentences. It brings delayed feedback.

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Receiver / Decoder

• The receiver/decoder of your message is your reader or listener. He may be influenced


by the context and by the external and internal stimuli. The receiver like sender receives
messages through the eyes and ears but is also influenced by non-verbal factors such as
physical environment, physical appearance, body movements, voice quality, touch, taste,
and smell.

• All factors of a message are filtered through the receiver’s view and experience in the
work. Therefore, miscommunication can occur when personal biases and individual
values cause the receiver to misinterpret the sender’s internal message.

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Feedback

Feedback can be oral or written; it can also be an action,


such as receiving the mail or an item you ordered.
Sometimes silence is used as feedback, though it is not
very useful. Senders need feedback in order to
determine the success or failure of the communication.

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Effective communication

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Barriers to Effective Communication

People in the world are not exactly alike. Cultures or countries are not the same. These differences,
however, can cause problems in conveying your meanings. Each person’s mind is different from others.
As a result, message sender’s meanings and the receiver’s response are affected by many factors, such as
the following:

• Semantic barriers(Convention of meaning)

• Physical Barrier

• Psychological barriers

 Emotional barriers

 Perceptual barriers

• Barriers involving values attitudes etc.


• Sender’s Creditability

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Semantic Barrier (Convention of meaning)

A basic principle of communication is that the symbols the sender uses to communicate
messages must have the same meaning in both the sender’s and receiver’s minds. You
can never be sure that the message in your mind will be clearly sent to your receiver.
The world is full with errors, as a result of differences in semantic (meaning)
understanding. A symbol is a sign for something that exits in reality. Thus your name is
really a symbol or a word which represents you. Only through common experience we
learn, in a connection made between the symbol and the word attached to you and the
person you are in reality .Anyone with less common experience will not easily relate
the symbol (your name) with you. Besides, there are problems in convention of
meaning, so you must make yourself familiar with different types of meaning.

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Semantic Barrier……types

Denotation
A denotation is usually the dictionary definition of a word. Denotative
meanings name objects, people or events without indicating positive or
negative qualities. Such words as car, desk, book, house, and water
convey denotative meanings. The receiver has a similar understanding
of the thing in which the word is used.

Connotation
A connotation is an implication of a word or a suggestion separate from
the usual definition. Some words have connotative meanings, that is,
qualitative judgment and personal reactions. The word man is
denotative, father, prophet, brother are connotative. Some words have
positive connotations in some contexts and negative meanings in
others. For example, slim girl and slim chances.

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ii) Physical Barriers

Communication does not consist of words alone. Another set of barriers


is caused by your own physical appearance, your audience, or the
context of the document or the presentation. Your ideas, however good
and skillfully imparted, are at the mercy of various potential physical
barriers.

• For Writing:
There is a whole barrage of possible physical blocks, jammed or jagged
margins, fingerprints or smudges, unclear photocopies, unreadable
word processor printout, water and coffee or tea spots etc.

• For Speaking:
Mumbling, not enunciating, speaking too quickly, noises become of
hissing ventilation, blowing air conditioning, ringing telephones,
slamming doors etc. are different aspects of physical barriers.

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iii) Psychological Barriers
In this changing world, everyone has his own concept of reality. Also, human
beings’ sensory perceptions – touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste are limited,
and each person’s mental filter is unique. In our daily interaction with others,
we make various abstractions, inferences and evaluations of the world around
us.

• Emotional Barriers
One possible psychological block is emotional; you may be emotionally
blocked when you are announcing a new policy that whether you may become
popular or unpopular. Similarly, you may have emotional barrier while making
your first presentation or writing someone you dislike.

• Perception barriers
The perceptual problem is that people think differently so as a result their
perception of reality is different. The material world provides a special reality
to each individual. As human being’s sensory perceptions—touch, sight
hearing, smell, taste -- are similar, and each person’s mental filter is unique.
We make various abstractions, inferences and evaluations of the world around
us.

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Types of Perception barriers
Abstracting
Selecting some details and omitting others is a process called abstracting. On many occasions
abstracting is necessary. Differences in abstracting take place not only when persons describe
events but also when they describe people and objects. However, you should be cautious about
“slanted” statements.
Slanting is unfair in factual reporting. When presenting some particular facts, you include your
own biased ideas into it, you make slanting statement. Try not to let personal preferences affect
your factual reporting of information.
Inferring
Conclusions made by reasoning from evidence are called inferences. We make assumptions and
draw conclusions even though we are not able to immediately verify the evidence. Some
inferences are both necessary and desirable; others are risky, even dangerous.
Necessary Inferences
When we reach a foreign country, we are sure that we will be treated politely. When we post a
letter, we infer that it will reach its destination. When we base our inferences on direct observation
or on reasonable evidence, they are likely to be quite dependable. Conclusion we make about
things we have not observed directly can often be untrue.
As an intelligent communicator, we must realize that inferences may be incorrect or unreliable
and anticipate the risks before acting on them. Be careful to distinguish clearly among verifiable
facts, and mere guess work.
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Barriers Involving Values, Attitudes

Both personality and attitude are complex cognitive process. The difference is that
personality usually is thought of as the whole person whereas attitude may be the part
of personality. The term attitude describes people and explains their behavior. More
precisely an attitude can be defined as a persistent tendency to feel and behave in a
particular way towards some object. For example: Naeem does not like night shift, so
his attitude is negative towards his work assignment.

A receiver’s attitude towards a message can determine whether it is accepted or


rejected. The effectiveness is influenced also by the values, attitudes, and opinions of
the communicators. People react favorably when they receive agreeable message.
Receivers’ views of the information will affect their responses. This response could be
what the sender desires or just the opposite. Occasionally people react according to
their attitudes toward a situation rather than to the facts.

Closed Mind
Some people hold rigid views on certain subjects. They maintain their rigid views
regardless of the circumstances. Such a closed minded person is very difficult to
communicate to.

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Sender’s credibility

Credibility of the sender is important in getting a favorable


reaction. Often people react more according to their attitude
towards the source of information than to the information itself.
An effective communication builds credibility by writing and
speaking in a fair and just manner and by considering receiver’s
point of view. Other circumstances, such as environmental
stresses, personal problems, and sensitivity affect attitudes,
opinions and responses.

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7 C’s of Communication

Communication is an important part of our world today.


The ability to communicate effectively with others is
considered a prized quality of the successful business
people. To communicate easily and effectively with
your readers, you should apply the following Seven ‘C’
principles:
1. Clarity 5. Correctness
2. Conciseness 6. Courtesy
3. Consideration 7. Completeness
4. Concreteness

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1. Clarity
When writing or speaking to someone, be clear about your goal or
message. What is your purpose in communicating with this person? If
you're not sure, then your audience won't be sure either.
To be clear, try to minimize the number of ideas in each sentence. Make
sure that it's easy for your reader to understand your meaning. People
shouldn't have to "read between the lines" and make assumptions on
their own to understand what you're trying to say.
Bad Example
Hi John,
I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel, who's working in your
department. He's a great asset, and I'd like to talk to you more about
him when you have time.
Best,
Skip

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1. Clarity
What is this email about? Well, we're not sure. First,
if there are multiple Daniels in John's department,
John won't know who Skip is talking about.

Next, what is Daniel doing, specifically, that's so


great? We don't know that either. It's so vague that
John will definitely have to write back for more
information.
Last, what is the purpose of this email? Does Skip
simply want to have an idle chat about Daniel, or is
there some more specific goal here? There's no
sense of purpose to this message, so it's a bit
confusing.

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1. Clarity
• Good Example
Hi John,
I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel Kedar, who's
working in your department. In recent weeks, he's helped the
IT department through several pressing deadlines on his own
time.
We've got a tough upgrade project due to run over the next
three months, and his knowledge and skills would prove
invaluable. Could we please have his help with this work?
I'd appreciate speaking with you about this. When is it best to
call you to discuss this further?
Best wishes,

This second message is much clearer, because the reader has


the information he needs to take action.

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2. Concise

• When you're concise in your communication, you


stick to the point and keep it brief. Your audience
doesn't want to read six sentences when you could
communicate your message in three.
• Are there any adjectives or "filler words" that you
can delete? You can often eliminate words like
"for instance," "you see," "definitely," "kind of,"
"literally," "basically," or "I mean."
• Are there any unnecessary sentences?
• Have you repeated the point several times, in
different ways?
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2. Concise
Hi Matt,
I wanted to touch base with you about the email marketing campaign
we kind of sketched out last Thursday. I really think that our target
market is definitely going to want to see the company's philanthropic
efforts. I think that could make a big impact, and it would stay in their
minds longer than a sales pitch.
For instance, if we talk about the company's efforts to become
sustainable, as well as the charity work we're doing in local schools,
then the people that we want to attract are going to remember our
message longer. The impact will just be greater.
What do you think?
Jessica

This email is too long! There's repetition, and there's plenty of "filler"
taking up space.

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2. Concise
• Watch what happens when we're concise and take
out the filler words:
Hi Matt,
I wanted to quickly discuss the email marketing
campaign that we analyzed last Thursday. Our target
market will want to know about the company's
philanthropic efforts, especially our goals to become
sustainable and help local schools.
This would make a far greater impact, and it would
stay in their minds longer than a traditional sales
pitch.
What do you think?
Jessica
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3. Concrete

• When your message is concrete, then your audience has


a clear picture of what you're telling them. There are
details (but not too many!) and vivid facts, and there's
laser-like focus. Your message is solid.
Bad Example
Consider this advertising copy:
The Lunchbox Wizard will save you time every day.
A statement like this probably won't sell many of these
products. There's no passion, no vivid detail, nothing that
creates emotion, and nothing that tells people in the
audience why they should care. This message isn't
concrete enough to make a difference.

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3. Concrete
Good Example
• How much time do you spend every day packing
your kids' lunches? No more! Just take a complete
Lunchbox Wizard from your refrigerator each day
to give your kids a healthy lunch and have more
time to play or read with them!
This copy is better because there are vivid images.
The audience can picture spending quality time with
their kids – and what parent could argue with that?
And mentioning that the product is stored in the
refrigerator explains how the idea is practical. The
message has come alive through these details.
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4. Correct

• When your communication is correct, it fits


your audience. And correct communication is
also error-free communication.
• Do the technical terms you use fit your
audience's level of education or knowledge?
• Have you checked your writing for
grammatical errors? Remember, spell checkers
won't catch everything.
• Are all names and titles spelled correctly?

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4. Correct
• Bad Example
Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for meeting me at lunch today! I
enjoyed our conservation, and I'm looking
forward to moving ahead on our project. I'm sure
that the two-weak deadline won't be an issue.
Thanks again, and I'll speak to you soon!
Best,
Jack Miller

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4. Correct
• If you read that example fast, then you might
not have caught any errors. But on closer
inspection, you'll find two. Can you see them?
• The first error is that the writer accidentally
typed conservation instead of conversation.
This common error can happen when you're
typing too fast. The other error is using weak
instead of week.
• Again, spell checkers won't catch word errors
like this, which is why it's so important to
proofread everything!

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5. Coherent

When your communication is coherent, it's logical. All points are


connected and relevant to the main topic, and the tone and flow of the
text is consistent.
Bad Example
Traci,
I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last
week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she wanted to make sure you
knew about the department meeting we're having this Friday. We'll be
creating an outline for the new employee handbook.
Thanks,
Michelle

As you can see, this email doesn't communicate its point very well.
Where is Michelle's feedback on Traci's report? She started to mention
it, but then she changed the topic to Friday's meeting.

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5. Coherent
Good Example
Hi Traci,
I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you
finished last week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she let
me know that there are a few changes that you'll need to make.
She'll email you her detailed comments later this afternoon.
Thanks,
Michelle

Notice that in the good example, Michelle does not mention


Friday's meeting. This is because the meeting reminder should
be an entirely separate email. This way, Traci can delete the
report feedback email after she makes her changes, but save
the email about the meeting as her reminder to attend. Each
email has only one main topic.

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6. Complete

• In a complete message, the audience has


everything they need to be informed and, if
applicable, take action.
• Does your message include a "call to action,"
so that your audience clearly knows what you
want them to do?
• Have you included all relevant information –
contact names, dates, times, locations, and so
on?

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Complete
Bad Example
Hi everyone,
I just wanted to send you all a reminder about the
meeting we're having tomorrow!
See you then,
Chris

This message is not complete, for obvious reasons.


What meeting? When is it? Where? Chris has left
his team without the necessary information.
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Complete
Good Example
Hi everyone,
I just wanted to remind you about tomorrow's
meeting on the new telecommuting policies. The
meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in the second-level
conference room. Please let me know if you can't
attend.
See you then,
Chris

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7. Courteous
Courteous communication is friendly, open, and honest. There are no
hidden insults or passive-aggressive tones. You keep your reader's
viewpoint in mind, and you're empathetic to their needs.
Bad Example
Jeff,
I wanted to let you know that I don't appreciate how your team always
monopolizes the discussion at our weekly meetings. I have a lot of
projects, and I really need time to get my team's progress discussed as
well. So far, thanks to your department, I haven't been able to do that.
Can you make sure they make time for me and my team next week?
Thanks,
Phil

Well, that's hardly courteous! Messages like this can potentially start
office-wide fights. And this email does nothing but create bad feelings,
and lower productivity and morale. A little bit of courtesy, even in
difficult situations, can go a long way.

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7. Courteous
Good Example
Hi Jeff,
I wanted to write you a quick note to ask a favor. During our
weekly meetings, your team does an excellent job of
highlighting their progress. But this uses some of the time
available for my team to highlight theirs. I'd really appreciate
it if you could give my team a little extra time each week to
fully cover their progress reports.
Thanks so much, and please let me know if there's anything I
can do for you!
Best,
Phil

What a difference! This email is courteous and friendly, and it


has little chance of spreading bad feelings around the office.

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